THE ORIGIN OF “FUNKBLAST”
Many of you who follow me on Twitter (@Jamieblog) have helped make the term “Funkblast” part of the Reds lexicon. For you newbies, “Funkblast” is an expression that I, along with many Reds fans, tweet to announce a Reds home run.
— Jamie Ramsey (@Jamieblog) May 5, 2012
But where did this zany word come from? The answer is – all the way from Seattle, Washington via current Reds baseball executive Bill Bavasi.
Bavasi is the former general manager of the Mariners and a guy whom I admire immensely for his wit, friendliness, creativity, music-taste and above all – his incredible sense of humor. I should also mention the obvious – Bill is a brilliant baseball man.
Upon his arrival to Cincinnati to work for the Reds, I developed a fast friendship with Bill. The man has been around the game for a long time and he tells some great stories that I hope will someday appear in his book.
One of those stories revolves around “Funk Blast.”
“Kevin Martinez, the Mariners VP of Marketing then-and-now and a great friend, came up with it,” Bill told me. “Warren Miller, our Assistant PR Director at the time and recently the PR man for the Powerful Pads (Padres), had a box CD set on his desk titled Funk Blast. I asked him if I could borrow it.”
Bavasi contines, “The CD box was in my car. Kevin and I were going to lunch and he saw the CD box and said, ‘We should call home runs Funk Blasts.’ I asked, ‘When?’ He said we should use it on the scoreboard when a Mariner hits a home run. I told him he didn’t have the guts and continued to chide him. He did it and it immediately caught on.”
Bavasi humbly adds, “Kevin credits me with it but, it was his idea.”
The Funk Blast phenomenon became such a hit that Bavasi and Martinez wanted to capture it in a t-shirt contest. “Kevin and I had a contest to see who could come up with the best Funk Blast t-shirt. I did. It’s so good,” says Bill.
I’ve seen the shirt; it features political figure Che Guevara. Bavasi told me not everyone was thrilled with that choice of “mascots.”
When Bavasi’s tenure with the Mariners ended (nothing to do with the shirt), the Mariners stopped using Funk Blast on the Safeco Field scoreboard when a Mariner hit a home run. “When I got gassed (dismissed), Kevin immediately stopped doing Funk Blast on the board,” said Bavasi. “I heard about it and he said it died when I did…that the Funk Blast belonged to me. What a gesture.”
Died? No chance. I wasn’t going to allow that to happen. The story and the word itself was just too good to let fade away. Because Bavasi had joined our Reds, I felt it perfect timing to dust off “Funk Blast”, modify it a little to “Funkblast” and use it to to announce Reds home runs on my Twitter feed.
Just as it did in Seattle, “Funkblast” has also caught on here in Reds Country. My pals at In The Gap Shirts sell a “Funkblast” t-shirt. The Reds’ Todd Frazier has embraced the term and told me that if/when he joins the world of Twitter, he will include it in his handle. Mat Latos’ wife, Dallas, has also adopted the home run call on her popular Twitter feed.
Oh, and the 2012 Better Off Red t-shirt? Let’s just say it’s going to be “funky.”
But what about the fans in Seattle who lost the funk? No worries, things have ended happily in Mariner Land. Bavasi explains – “I convinced Kevin to start doing it (again). So, I think it’s (once again) a staple at Safeco.”
So there you have it. The legend of the Funkblast. Everyone wins!